Ladue News Feature Stories

Hooked on Herend

For close to 200 years, Herend has wowed the world with its handmade, hand-painted porcelain creations. Founded in Herend, Hungary, in 1826, the company has grown to become the largest producer of handmade porcelain in the world. Each piece’s signature patterns and attention to detail set the Herend brand apart and have made its longstanding line of goods coveted for decades.

To give Herend fans an exclusive look into the work that goes into these exquisite pieces, Chesterfield Jewelers is bringing in Herend master artist Marianna Steigervald for an event series on Oct. 29 and 30.

Steigervald grew up in the Hungarian village of Veszprém, which borders the Herend Porcelain Manufactory. She showed an affinity for art at a young age and sought to advance her education at the Herend manufactory after finishing school. Herend’s master artist curriculum consists of rigorous training, which Steigervald completed, earning the title of master artist in 1997. According to a press release, to achieve this title an artist “must excel in designing a form and its ornamentation; designing its manufacturing process; choosing, preparing and using the raw and auxiliary materials, as well as the tools and instruments necessary to make the piece; improving product quality and eliminating all errors; teaching the craft and providing expert opinion and consultation; and exhibiting the highest professional and aesthetic standards.” For a master artist’s final project, he or she must create a masterpiece for review by the Guild Masters. If the piece is done to the Guild Masters’ standards, the artist is awarded this rare designation.

“In this fast-paced society we live in where many things are created for a short shelf life, I love creating beautiful things that have a permanence to them,” Steigervald says of her work. “Not only valuable products that will be around for generations to come, but also pieces that are a true expression of art. As an artist, I love to honor tradition, but I also enjoy pushing boundaries and discovering ways to appeal to a younger generation. It may be a cliché, but I continuously search to capture and reflect the subtle beauty in the world around me.”

At the Oct. 29 and 30 events at Chesterfield Jewelers, visitors will have the opportunity to witness Steigervald demonstrate her craft while browsing the store’s selection of Herend products. Steigervald will also be available to personalize and sign pieces for attendees, which make great gifts. Beth Castellaw, a regional sales manager for Herend USA, says customers often request messages like “Merry Christmas” or other personalized sentiments on the bottom of their Herend pieces, making them even more special and unique.

“Mariana truly enjoys meeting customers and children, and has built a loyal U.S. following,” Castellaw says. “At one event, she even tried to teach a small child how to paint. We’d love for people to come and meet her and witness her remarkable painting techniques.”

Herend figurines are distinguishable by their hand-painted fishnet pattern, which has become a signature Herend design. Castellaw says that in 1858, an inspired artist modified a fish scale design into a fishnet pattern and painted it onto the breast of a rooster figurine to imitate feathers. In the 1960s, an animal figurine was painted entirely in the fishnet pattern, and it became so popular that it became widely used on Herend figurines, with animal figurines featuring the design representing about half of Herend’s U.S. sales.

While figurines remain popular for Herend, the brand’s dinnerware line is also widely in demand. With thousands of shapes in more than 5,000 different patterns, the combinations are endless. Herend includes platters, coffee and tea services, trays, napkin rings and more and has been owned by more than 25 royal families worldwide.

“Many Reserve Collection pieces will be among the exquisite assortment of porcelain artistry presented at the event,” Castellaw says. “Mostly limited editions, the Reserve Collection pieces are art sculptures adorned with 24-karat gold accents and are meticulously handcrafted by many pairs of hands and take many hours, days and weeks to paint. Each piece is elegantly presented with a certificate and a luxury case.”

A lookbook featuring some of the unique Herend items available at Chesterfield Jewelers can be found on the jewelers’ website. Castellaw encourages those who can attend the events to do so, but notes that the items will also be available for “preshopping” on the site.

Steigervald says she’s looking forward to the event series and is eager to share her art with those who attend.

“For me, the Herend brand is synonymous with perfection in high-quality porcelain,” she says. “The manufactory’s success story has been unbroken since the 19th century, in large part due to cherishing old traditions while embracing new artistic endeavors and technical advancements, as well. Herend’s hand-painted porcelain, whether a small figurine, a piece of giftware or a dinner service for 20, is a beautiful work of art.”

This story was originally published at laduenews.com. Read it on LN’s website here.

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